Film in Motion is a series of articles and interviews which look at the different roles needed to produce the visual medium of film. This week we talk to producer, Keith Bogue.
Keith Bogue is a freelance screenwriter and producer. After completing the MA in Scriptwriting at Huston School of Digital Media and Film in Galway, Keith’s script went on to win the inaugural Stella Artois Pitching competition. His producer credits include ‘For Goth and Country’ which was screened at the Groovy Movie Short Film Festival Glastonbury 2015, ‘The Day-Trippers’ which was selected for Raindance Film Festival London 2012 and ‘All Washed Up’ which has been selected for The Kerry International Film Festival 2015 and Pervolia International Film Festival Cyprus 2015.
How would you define the role of Producer and what they do?
I do short films and in Ireland, in the present day situation, you are a glorified line producer. In a bigger production you would have a line producer and then you, as the producer, would worry about the product as it were. In my case and I would say in the case of 99% of everyone else in the country who do short films, your everything, you are the line producer and about ten other jobs on top of that. You have to raise the money to make the films in the first place and then when they are made you have to push them. A lot of people think that ‘oh the film is made, great!’ but that’s only half the work, then you have to get it into film festivals and as a producer that is your job. You’ve got to get it out there. You’ve got to get people to see it because that’s why you make them, for people to see them. Whether they like them or they don’t like them is another day’s work.
What drew you to producing?
I actually fell into it, because I’m a scriptwriter. I won RTÉ’s short films award and one of the questions in the interview process was who your producer is. I decided then that I would produce, because then I would have some control over it. I don’t direct, I’m not a director, I’m a script writer. Directing is a skill, I’m not saying I couldn’t direct but I felt given my background that I’d produce. I looked at the situation and thought, right, well if I can control the money then I will have a fair bit of control over the film. That is how I ended up producing, for my sins!
What was your path into the industry?
I started out in the music industry, then I was working in Arts and then I was doing a bit of design work for various people involved in film. One or two directors said to me, you know, you should write. I had worked with a couple of films so I said alright. Due to circumstances beyond my control I found myself at a loose end, so I went and did a Masters in Scriptwriting in the Huston in Galway. I did the year there and the script that I wrote for the final year won the inaugural Stella Artois Pitching prize at the Galway Film Fleadh. That was picked up by a production company and then the Film Board got involved. That was when I woke up and realised I was in the film industry.
What training or experience did you find most helpful?
You don’t need to be academically trained to work in the film industry, a lot of what you need to know is learned in the field as it were. It’s one of those industries where you learn from the person standing next to you. The reason I did the Masters in Scriptwriting, was not so much for the qualification but to meet industry professionals. Also to learn the shortcuts, not shortcuts in the sense that you are cutting corners, but to learn certain things that would make it feasible for me to write a screenplay. It’s like a formula you have to learn, it’s like doing anything else. It’s like learning to drive the car. You can eventually learn to drive the car but if someone comes into you and says do a, b and c, it’s going to be quicker. The Masters was invaluable to me because the way it was structured In Huston, there were two full time staff and everyone else was in the industry coming in. That was where you learned, talking to them. I ended up in the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield on a scholarship working with professionals from the British film industry, from Channel 4, and you learn from these people.
What is the best part of your job?
I think the best part is getting it done. Whether I wrote it or not. If you write it, it’s great to see it there but I mean I’ve produced projects that I didn’t write. I was involved in it all along but actually just to see it on screen or to see it on television. It is some achievement just to get it there.
What have been some of the greater challenges in your work?
Well I think every time you write a script it’s a challenge. You know I’ve written scripts and they’ve been turned down. Most of the stuff I’ve got has been turned down, several times, but it has been made, that’s the important thing. When I get a rejection, I take it as a positive thing because I say well I’ll go back to that and I do. You don’t give up. Also a lot of time it’s a kind of one man show or one woman show, it’s difficult to keep on top of everything.
What are you currently working on?
I have three ideas I’m working on at the moment. Two feature film ideas and I have an idea that I’m kind of scripting at the moment that I see for television. I think that’s where things are going at the moment, television. One of the features is fully written, so I’m re-editing it, it has to be jigged around, it went to the Irish Film Board and they gave suggestions as to what to do. The other one is a pet project of mine that I have been working on for many a year.
What advice do you have for some looking to pursue a career in producing?
Take up dentistry or qualify as a Doctor! But seriously, all I can say is stick with it. Most people who want to do it, that’s what they want to do. Try not to do it all by yourself, some people get too pressured when they try to control everything. Build a team around yourself, that’s the one thing I have been lucky with, I’ve been lucky with the directors I’ve worked with and I’ve been lucky with the crew that I’ve assembled. Have a happy set, it’s very important and I know it sounds stupid but it is important. Get a crew and look after them well and create a good atmosphere on set and your film will take care of itself.
Check out the rest of our Film In Motion Series below:
Featured graphic credit: Phil Shanahan